In the waning months of the Bush Administration, new regulations have been proposed that threaten access to family planning services. Bush and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt say abortion and refusal rights are the issue, but this is simply a ruse in their plan to attack contraception. There are already plenty of laws on the books that protect the conscience rights of health care professionals so why the need for more? Clearly, the new rule is a last attempt by the administration to obstruct family planning and contraception for families that depend on federally funded family planning services. The effects of these regulations are numerous as they expand the power of ideologues to refuse to provide even basic information, counseling and referrals for important health-care services.
The broad and vague terms means that family-planning providers can no longer guarantee their patients access to the full range of comprehensive family-planning services. Ninety percent of Americans support access to contraception, but President Bush and Secretary Leavitt don’t seem to care. In his attempt to protect refusal rights, Bush has begun an unconscionable war against mainstream American family planning contraception. They must be stopped.